Ballot papers out at nationals as Telegraph anger mounts

By Dominic Ponsford

An “angry” meeting of the Telegraph Group’s NUJ chapel has decided to press on with a strike vote.

A packed chapel meeting took place on Tuesday following theMonday deadline for editorial redundancy volunteers.

Some
120 journalists from both the Daily and Sunday Telegraph are understood
to have expressed an interest in redundancy – more than enough to meet
the management target announced three weeks ago to lose 90 out of a
claimed staff headcount of 521.

However, management has reserved
the right to refuse redundancy applications, so compulsory redundancies
could still be on the cards.

So far some 30 journalists have
agreed terms with the management to leave, including former NUJ father
of chapel, Charlie Methven.

Tuesday’s chapel meeting confirmed
plans to strike in protest against the scale of the cutbacks and in
opposition to compulsory redundancies.

A ballot result is now expected in three weeks.

A
union insider said: “There was considerable anger at the meeting over
the company’s failure to provide the sort of detailed information we
have been asking for.

“We have asked to know the breakdown of
redundancy applications, how many have definitely gone, and how many
have just asked for information about terms.

“People are also angry at the chaotic way this is all being carried out.

“They
won’t give us a list of the people who have definitely gone because
they say that’s confidential information, but these are people who have
already left the building. We also have no idea where the cuts are
being made, so we can’t talk to them in any kind of meaningful and
constructive way about where cuts can be made.”

The NUJ was
expected to serve formal notice to Telegraph management of the strike
vote late this week. Around 300 journalists at the papers are
understood to be in the NUJ.

At Express Newspapers, ballot papers
for a strike vote were due to go out on Friday this week, with a result
expected two weeks later.

Staff have rejected a 3.3 per cent pay
rise. They also want an increase on the current minimum holiday amount
of 23 days, and higher minimum rates.

Currently around 60 journalists, not including trainees, are understood to be on less than £30,000 at the Express titles.

Ballot papers were also due to go out this week at the Independent titles after staff there refused a three per cent pay offer.

Management
has put the pay rise in pay cheques regardless of the strike vote and
has also dropped an offer to look at improving pension arrangements.

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